JetBlue Raises Baggage Fees to Highest of Any Major Airline

This is how the airline's attempt to cut cost will hit your wallet at the airport.
A woman with a piece of luggage at the airport.

JetBlue, which bucked industry trends by not charging customers for checked-in luggage until 2015, recently instituted the highest fee among major airlines for a passenger's first piece of checked-in luggage. The low-cost carrier announced a hike in baggage and ancillarily fees for its customers, most notably raising the price of a first checked bag from a passenger on its cheapest "Blue" fare from $25 to $30. The airline is also raising the price of a second checked bag from $35 to $40, as well as increasing the price of a third checked bag from $100 to $150. JetBlue's "Blue Plus" fares include the price of the first checked back and its premium "Blue Flex" fares waive the fees for the first two pieces of checked luggage.

The price changes come as JetBlue and the rest of the airline industry struggle with rising jet fuel prices that are cutting into profit margins during the busy summer travel season, a time when airfare between carriers is competitive and executives see fees for checked baggage and other services as a way to make up the cost.

Airline1st Checked Bag Fee2nd Checked Bag Fee3rd Checked Bag Fee
JetBlue$30$40$250
Southwest$0$0$75
Virgin Atlantic$0$100$200
Delta$25$35$150
American$25$35$150
United$25$35$150

Note: Baggage fees are based on the assumption the passenger is flying the most common type of fare for each airline and isn't a member of a rewards program.

JetBlue is far from alone in raising prices and adding fees to help boost its bottom line. Southwest, recently named in the J.D. Power 2018 North America Airline Satisfaction Study as the budget airline customers love the most, is hiking fees on its popular EarlyBird Check-In. The service, which allows passengers to move ahead of the boarding line for a flat fee of $15, will start charging prices ranging from $15 to $25 (depending on the route) starting Aug. 29. Alaska Airlines, ranked first among all airlines in the J.D. Power study for 11 consecutive years, has also taken cost-cutting measures such as introducing "Saver" fare seats similar to the basic economy seats offered by legacy carriers, except Alaska limits these seats to the back of its planes. In September, Alaska plans on getting rid of its price guarantee, which allowed passengers who had booked a ticket where the price dropped to claim the difference in credit with the airline.

James Ellis

James Ellis is a former Staff Writer for ValuePenguin, covering credit, banking, travel and other personal finance topics. He previously wrote for Newsweek, Men's Health, and other nationally-published magazines.

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